EFP 90: On Time-Wasting Customers

Justin Cooke

April 17, 2014

EFP 90 On Time-Wasting Customers1

In our brokering business (and outsourcing business), there have been plenty of tire-kickers who don’t have the intention to spend money for a quality product or service but would still love to poke and see how much they can get out of you. These are the time-sucking, soul-crushing customers that no one likes to deal with.

6 Common Signs of a Time Waster

Today, Joe and I share six common signs that someone is a time-waster and not a real (potential) customer. When you run into one of these guys you’re going to want to notice the signs and not spend too much of your precious time with them. I think this episode is especially important for new entrepreneurs, but the seasoned veterans will find themselves nodding their heads, I’m sure!

If you want to save yourself plenty of time (and money) you’ll want to learn how to spot the signs.

Check Out This Week’s Episode Here:

 Direct Download – Right Click, Save As

Topics Discussed This Week Include:

  • Customers with ZERO verifiable identity or credentials.
  • The promise of “future” business and the time you waste with these customers.
  • People trying to scare you into a deal with ramblings about attorneys.
  • The keyboard warrior that tries to sell you on how awesome they are.
  • Customers who expect something for nothing.



  • “Don’t take customers where you can’t verify their information. It’s a very high likelihood they’re wasting your time.” – Justin Cooke – Tweet This!

Have you dealt with bad tirekickers in the past? What are some of the worst signs to look out for? Share them with us on SpeakPipe or comment below!

Photo Credit: Gareth Williams via Flickr

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  1. Nick says:

    As always, superb episode, thanks, Justin and Joe! Agree 100% with all the episode points.

    Quite funny that I was dealing with a potential time waster, while listening to this episode. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud, when they displayed the exact same signals you mention; almost in the same order: NDAs and all. I guess the signals are always the same, as you’ve both clearly identified.

    But: is it possible that “tyre kickers” of today become real, loyal customers at some point in the future? Just curious.

    I like Joseph Hughes point: “use gut feel to qualify people out”. That should be an evergreen quote. Engraved and displayed for all to see. That one tip has saved me lots of headaches!

    • Nick, unfortunately, not in my experience. The people who put on a nice suit and go down to the BMW dealership to ask a million questions, never buy the car. The guy who comes in with cash, already know the model he wants, and wants only a slight discount is obviously the better customer. As the salesperson (the other hat your wear in a small business), your job is to find the people who fall in between and identify those who are just not going to buy.

      Sure good customers have questions, but the difference between them and tire kickers is they are ready to buy. Constant questions are used to delay the “confrontation” for the prospect telling you “I don’t have the money” or “my wife won’t let me do it”. Answer questions, but always be closing and don’t be afraid to walk away if it seems the prospect is using delay tactics.

  2. Top episode, guys. These are such great reminders, because no matter how long we’ve been in business, we still get tripped up from time to time.

    I’ve found it helps to be crystal clear, as the business owner, who your ideal prospects and clients are, and then have a system for how you interact with prospects and lead them through the sales process. It’s not going to be 100% foolproof, but I think having a good process for this limits your time-wasters.

    Another heuristic I love, which I think also came from you guys, is that it’s OK to use your gut feeling, but use it to qualify someone out, not make an exception and qualify someone in.

    • Love that tip. I can’t tell you how many times my gut has said “skip this one” only to come back and haunt me later. Especially when you have experience intuition is just right more often than not.

  3. Hey guys, Great job,, it was kind of funny listening to this episode. It’s so true in off-line businesses as well, In my industry there is a saying – Buyers are liars.. harsh but sometimes true…

    After a while, you can mostly tell who’s going to waste your time… but sometimes I still get surprised, where I can get a deal together that comes in left of field… I guess its the old 80/20 rule…


    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks, Darren!

      Yeah, I think most of these apply to both online and offline potential customers. You do get better at spotting the BS over time, but it can be difficult (it was for us) early on in your entrepreneurial career, for sure!

  4. Alex CS says:

    Did you mean an iTunes review? If so, shame I already left one in the past. Books sounds interesting.

    I think I was a semi time-waster at the start. I had the cash, but only for a few investments. So I had to be picky. And when you’re doing large transactions online, you can get a little nervous. :-) But yes, if they don’t want to jump on Skype – big red flag to me.

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